Are modular rigs too pricey for your budget? Hate the thought of all those patch cords, and wish you could just have everything at the ready on your laptop? DopeMatrix might just be for you.

That’s “Dope” as in “Doepfer,” and they aren’t just making something modular-ish here. They’re actually giving you a set of sounds from popular Eurorack synth modules – think A-110, Plan B, Cwejman, and Piston Honda.

Those four oscillator modules are coupled with twelve effects modules and a step sequencer with matrix controls. Built in Max for Live, you can add the modules (and dozens of presets) as-is, and experiment with external control, your own tweaks, and drag-and-drop placement of routing order.

Thinking of this as a modular “clone” probably misses the point. You can’t route audio between modules with the same level of flexibility as a modular – you’re limited to dragging and dropping the order of the individual modules in Live. On the other hand, what you do get is actually a lot easier to control in live performance. The folks at Sonic Faction have thoughtfully included a step sequencer and a matrix module that does on-the-fly patch control. That in turn is mapped to common controllers like Ableton’s Push, the AKAI APC, and the Novation Launchpad.

With the matrix, any oscillator or effects parameter is a button-push away.

In fact, this as much about their clever step sequencer and its matrix controller as it is about the modular business. The new step sequencer adds additional controls missing in Push’s built-in functionality. And the matrix is even smart enough to update if you drag and drop effect order.

With the controllers, you can punch in sequences of notes, manipulate effects and oscillators, and transform pitch and other parameters. The result is something dynamic, combining some of the sounds associated with modern modular rigs with rapid-fire, grid-based control. The output: flurries of notes and spacey effects for a sonic good time.

rackthing

And they have a cute video to go with it. (See the teaser, with animal mask action, at top, plus a tutorial below.)

I’m playing more with this; hope we look in more depth soon. If you toy with it and make something interesting, let us know.

Price: US$40 – a good buy, if you have one of the supported grid controllers.

http://www.sonicfaction.com/dope_matrix.html

Tutorial:

  • heinrichz

    good buy indeed, thanks for that one ! Very versatile instrument.

  • Ben Hovey

    Wicked!

  • f

    it’s funny that in so many gear/plugin adverts they say “new dimensions of sound” and then showcase static old digital farts as examples

  • mod

    max standalone seems to way more suitable for this (re: routing). check stretta’s educational BEAP project, for a real modular emulation, available for free. it can even interface with a modular.

    • http://sequadion.com/ Sequadion

      The BEAP project is very cool indeed, and much more flexible. However, I think they have a different use case here, and they were happy to sacrifice some flexibility to make it more immediately usable.

  • cooptrol

    or… you can buy a Micromodular, and you can take it live without your laptop!

  • wndfrm

    this is interesting.. i think ableton is very much a ‘modular environment’ in it’s own right, so it’s nice to see a marketed add on take advantage of this concept, as opposed to simply another pack of pre-made instruments..

    • aaron

      isn’t that exactly what this is? a pack of pre-made instruments?

  • zedkah

    just how does this software offer ‘analogue’ oscillators?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      They’re sampled. And you’ll notice I never said they were analog. But they’re sampled from analog oscillators, yes – as detailed in the story.

    • zedkah

      Sorry, i was commenting on the narrative of the ‘dope ‘ promo peter, not your review. looks a good toy if you have the set up but why do they think their target audience are morons?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Oh, I think they were just having fun with the video; I don’t think they intended to mislead. Getting the tone just right is never easy. They’re clear in their product description what they’ve done. And I suppose I’d choose them taking the risk and being a little silly over being completely boring…

  • IOSTREAM

    I’d just like to mention that the Harvestman Piston Honda is not analog, and it’s a pretty amazing module because of its functionality which is not emulated in Dope Matrix. Also, these guys didn’t get permission from anyone to use the names of the modules in their specs/features.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Yeah, I hope we get to cover these modules in greater detail.

      These are sampled instruments. Generally when small soundware developers have done samples, they do identify them by name. I know that’s not strictly above board, legally speaking, but it’s also not unusual.